Res­i­dents hit hard by frozen pipes

Some dam­age cov­ered

The Covington News - - FRONT PAGE - GABRIEL KHOULI gkhouli@cov­

Hun­dreds of New­ton County res­i­dents and dozens of busi­nesses and or­ga­ni­za­tions suf­fered dam­age from bro­ken pipes and flood­ing last week, with the state’s in­sur­ance com­mis­sioner es­ti­mat­ing Ge­or­gians had $75 mil­lion worth of in­sured losses as a re­sult of the state’s arc­tic weather.

Lo­cal in­sur­ance agents said it was too early to es­ti­mate to­tal dam­age in New­ton County but some homes were so badly flooded and dam­aged res­i­dents had to move out.

Dan Babb, a State Farm in­sur­ance agent, said his of­fice has re­ceived calls all week long and is still re­ceiv­ing a few this week, but je said none of the claims has been closed, so fi­nal costs are un­known.

He said his of­fice saw a hand­ful of cases where a house was so badly dam­aged the fam­ily had to move out, but if a lot of wa­ter dam­aged oc­curred it can take time un­til the floors dries out enough where peo­ple can tell if the floor is rot­ted.

“With com­pa­nies like ServPro and Ser­vice Masters so in­un­dated with calls, there were houses that didn’t get seen im­me­di­ately,” Babb said.

Scott Knight with Knight and Tabb In­sur­ance Agency said his of­fice only had two ac­tual claims and both were for flood­ing that af­fected two to three rooms in homes and re­sulted in un­der $10,000 of dam­age. Both of the claims his of­fice saw were for over­head pipes, like those in un­heated at­tics, burst­ing. Be­cause most home­own­ers poli­cies have a $1,000 de­ductible, some home­own­ers with mi­nor dam­age were bet­ter off pay­ing for re­pairs them­selves, Knight said. In some cases, in­sur­ance com­pa­nies may put a sur­charge on pre­mium pay­ments for home­own­ers who have large claims, but won’t typ­i­cally hold a claim against a home­owner when it comes time to re­new a pol­icy un­less the claim was for some­thing where the home­owner was neg­li­gent.

Knight said home­own­ers should al­ways call their agents if pos­si­ble to dis­cuss the sit­u­a­tion and op­tions be­fore fil­ing any in­sur­ance claim.

Last week, the New­ton County Wa­ter and Sew­er­age Au­thor­ity had calls to turn off wa­ter for about 150 cus­tomers, while Covington re­ceived 71 re­quests.

The city and county fire de­part­ments each han­dled dozens of ad­di­tional calls.

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